Saturday morning and on our first day off of work, we have to wake up at the most ridiculous time so far, thus resulting in a large amount of last minute packing. We managed to catch the bus without incident and then just a few minutes after setting off, the bus broke down (setting us back about 20 minutes). Once we had arrived in Orange walk after a two hour bus journey on one of the bumpiest roads I have ever experienced (with a driver determined to talk on the phone and exceed the speed limit at the same time), we proceeded with all haste to the bakery, where we were able to indulge ourselves in the finest sweet treats Orange Walk has to offer. The most extravagant buy was a pastry crocodile with cheese in the middle and strawberry icing for the mouth. Another two hour car ride south of orange walk and we had arrived at the river tubing site in the shadow of a large complex of hills and a large forest canopy flanked by the river we were due to set off on. A quick safety briefing later and we were hiking to our set off point. We crossed the river which we would be floating down and then had a twenty minute walk to where we would be setting off. We were met by an ideal natural pool which we made full advantage of by taking a dip in this snippet or paradise. Once we had finished at the pool we set off down the river and were immediately met by the cave entrance. The cave which we were tubing down was a vast structure and around forty feet deep with water. There were also a number of interesting natural structures in the cave such as rock formations, large walls of crystal and waterfall. We were then met by a series of small rapids as we exited the cave and once past revealed a long expanse of water with large trees overhanging the river with an assortment of diverse wildlife perched on the branches of said trees. At the end of the tour our tour guide showed us a place where we would be able to jump into the water from a decent height. Once we had all had our fill of being able to plummet several feet into water only a few feet deep we returned to the pick-nick area for lunch and once again the tour company rose to the occasion by preparing a lunch with a selection of tasty homemade drinks. We then proceeded to drive another two hours back to Orange Walk and managed to catch the bus on its way out of town and discovered it to be almost completely full of Menanites. Two more hours on the cramped bus and we get back to Sarteneja in time for the local scout barbecue. They had laid out a massive pile of pork and chicken, freshly cooked on the barbecue and seasoned beautifully which the whole congregation proceeded to devour in five minutes. Afterwards we were given a presentation by the scouts of Sarteneja which involved a series of comedic performances and a speech by the local scout leader. We then gave our own presentation which was not up to the same standard as the other scouts i am ashamed to say as we only had minutes to prepare once we arrived. Once all was said and done we headed back to wild-tracks and got a good nights sleep. The next day we proceeded into town on foot to meet the local scouts for a game of football and basketball, of which we managed to win both, however the basketball match was very close and was only won by a fluke shot. Now returned and completely exhausted we look forward to the Sunday roast that Besty has prepared for us as apposed to the usual rice and beans diet we have survived on for the past two weeks.
I am very thankful to be on this trip and am having a great time as we are staying beside a lagoon and with other people who have come to wild tracks to help conserve the howler and spider monkey population of all different nationalities. My only complaint would be the ridiculous amount of mosquitoes around which have dealt all members of the team with numerous bites and i am told are only 10% of what Belize gets around August and July. Glad i missed that.
See you all in two weeks